Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The 10 Most Awesome Disney Villains of All Time

10. Shan Yu

"The little girl will be missing her doll. We should return it to her."

Shan Yu is scary, and ruthless, and has some really good (read: creepy) lines, but his character wasn't as fully developed as a lot of the other villains.


"It's called a cruel irony. Like my dependence on you."

Living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the earth. Yzma is the villain of one of Disney's funniest movies, and as such is one of Disney's funniest villains. She's one of my favorites, but she's number nine because it's difficult to take her seriously. Especially in this form. Squeak Squeak Squeak Squeak, Squeak Squeaker Squeaken.

8. Governor Ratcliffe

"I'd help you to dig, boys, but I've got this crick in me spine."

Governor Ratcliffe, and this song, pretty much sum up the history of human conflict: "They're not like you and me, which means they must be evil."

7. Lady Tremaine

"Oh yes, and one more thing... see that Lucifer gets his bath."

 Sadistic and cruel, but what a voice.

6. Dr. Facilier

"Fun fact about voodoo, Larry: can't conjure a thing for myself."

Okay, personally I think Dr. Facilier is the scariest of all Disney villains, just because what he does is in a way, a lot more... conceivable. The occult freaks me out rather a lot. I feel like if you're trying to talk to Satan, he's not going to complain.

5. Hades

"Memo to me, memo to me: maim you after my meeting."

Satan meets used car salesman.

4. Ursula

"We mustn't lurk in doorways. It's rude. One might question your upbringing."

One of the more manipulative Disney villains, but also one of the more entertaining. "Life's full of tough choices, innit?"

3. Scar

"I'm surrounded by idiots."

The most sarcastic of all the Disney villains, Scar arguably has some of the best lines of any character.

2. Frollo

"Such a clever witch. So typical of your kind to twist the truth; to cloud the mind with unholy thoughts!"

As far as evil goes, Frollo wins. Lust, corruption, and hypocrisy make him arguably the darkest of any Disney character, but they also make this song one of the best Disney songs ever.

1. Maleficent

 "You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. Me, the mistress of all evil!"

I think that no one could ever top Maleficent as greatest Disney villain of all time. She's got it all: scary looks, fantastic voice and evil laugh, cruel sense of humor. I would slaughter a polar bear and bring back its head for her voice.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Favorite Poems

By Stephen Crane:

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

In the desert,
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter -- bitter," he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said,
"You can never -- "
"You lie," he cried,
And ran on.

By William Blake:

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

By Philip Larkin:

Church Going

Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect that the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort or other will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through superb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation - marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these - for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

Above the rest, there is T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Too long to copy here, but my favorite are the last few lines:

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Words do not even begin to describe how much I wish I could write poetry, but I'm not a poet. I'm a college student, foolish and idealistic, copying the words of those far greater than I and scribbling nonsense in the hope that it could ever mean anything.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Children's shows have grown less awesome over the years.

When I was a kid, shows were, in a word, excellent. There were classics, like Sesame Street (before Elmo's world and Cookie Monsters de-cookiefication). And there were the beginnings of long-running shows, like Arthur. There was Rugrats, and Doug ,and Pinky and the Brain, and Ren and Stimpy, and Dexter's Lab, and and various babyified versions of older shows, such as Tom and Jerry Kids and Tiny Toon Adventures.

But most of all, for me anyway, there was The Busy World of Richard Scarry.

Most people haven't heard of this show, and thus most people were deprived. This show was (still is?) my all-time favorite. I'm pretty sure I started watching it at the age of like one. Because it clearly impacted me enough that I named my stuffed hippo that I received at the age of two...

...after this character on the show:

Those characters were all fantastic. Hilda Hippo, and Lowly Worm, and Huckle Cat, and Bannas Gorilla, and Mr. Fixit, and Mr. Frumble... But they weren't just show characters. They were book characters, from books I grew up having read to me. Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever, and Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, and Busy, Busy World (Politically correct? Not even a little bit. Does that matter at all? Nope.). The author died in 1994, but those books are classics, which were reinforced as a central part of my early childhood by the show. It only ran from 1992 to 1996, but those were four really good years.

This was my favorite episode. I'm feeling really nostalgic all of the sudden and therefore rambling in a way that renders this post incomprehensible. Life was a lot simpler when I was younger.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A story from my childhood, but not really.

Technically this actually happened a few months before I came to BYU. But I don't have anything else to write about.

It all started when the air conditioning in my car broke. It's not my car, really. Which is fine by me. As sexy as a severely dented minivan is, it's not exactly a vehicle for which I have any particular desire to claim ownership. However, it is the car that I drove because it is the only automatic my family owns and also the one to which I could cause the least damage. After several weeks of enduring the disgusting heat of a Virginia summer,  my parents finally took the car in to have its air conditioning fixed.

The following morning, I left to go teach piano, as was my usual Saturday morning routine. I both drove to and parked at my student's house in a calm manner. Upon arriving, I checked my texts in a calm manner, and replied to them in a calm manner. Then, in a calm manner, I looked up out the windshield and proceeded to panic. Clouds of white something were billowing out of vent above the hood. I jumped out and opened the hood, but could see nothing wrong (as if I had any idea what I was even looking for). Uncertain of what exactly to do but knowing that I still had to teach a piano lesson, I proceeded to pretend nothing was wrong and taught my student in a state of denial. When I went back outside, the billowing white something had ceased its billowing and I thought that perhaps my denial had worked. Seeing that nothing else seemed to be wrong with the car, I started to drive home. I was at the entrance to my neighborhood when the dashboard started yelling at me. "Hey you! Stop driving! Your car is overheating!" it beeped. "What?" I replied, "No it isn't. I haven't really even driven anywhere. You're wrong." And then I looked at the engine temperature thing and sure enough, the arrow was pointing directly at H. Sensing that this was not the time to argue with my dashboard, I pulled over and called my mom.

Several minutes later, she, my dad, and three of my younger siblings pulled up in our other car. My dad got out and started looking for what was wrong, and my mom asked me if I wouldn't mind going to the church with my three siblings while they had a Primary Activity and waiting there so I could get them ready for a baptism directly afterward. Now, what you must understand here is that earlier that morning before leaving to teach piano I had basically just rolled out of bed, thrown on clothes, and left. I was wearing glasses, no makeup, and my unstraightened hair was pulled back into a frizzy ponytail. I was in no state to be seen in public, much less at a baptism. So when we arrived at the church and my brothers and sister left for their activity, I went into the bathroom and began, once again, to panic.

I glanced in the mirror, and part of me died. Desperately, I searched for something in my purse that might make me resemble a human. I came up with a hairbrush, a brown lipstick, a purple lipstick, and a clear lipgloss. Halfheartedly I put on the brown lipstick and attempted to use the brush to tame my unruly ponytail. No such luck. Water was added, but it quickly dried, leaving me with even frizzier hair than before. Drastic actions were required. In a half-crazed stupor, I looked once again at the clear lipgloss. Now, this lipgloss was a simple lipgloss, but it had served me well, benignly carrying out the task for which it had been created. Most people would be content with this function, but not I. I wanted to stretch the lipgloss to its full potential! I wanted to challenge social conventions and make a statement by using it in an unconventional way! I wanted to push the boundaries of lipgloss in a way they had never before been pushed!

...I put the lipgloss in my hair. Ideally, this would have tamed all frizz, much like a gel. It instead created the highly realistic illusion that I had for some reason decided to put something incredibly sticky in my hair. Was it lipgloss? Was it honey? Just by looking, it was difficult to tell. Now, an ordinary person would have recognized insanity for what it was and stopped while they still could, but not I. I had no eye makeup with me. But if I could put lipgloss in my hair, why not put lipstick on my eyes? "Don't do it!" shrieked the piteous and dying remains of my common sense, which I promptly punched in the face as I pulled out Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstick in Madison Mauve. "Madison Mauve" is a very unassuming name. One might think it was not too flashy, sort of a muted plum. One would be wrong. It is BRIGHT PURPLE. And this I put on my eyelids. Bright purple, twitching, crazy-person eyes. Lovely. Even in my current state I had enough fragments of sanity to recognize that this was not attractive. So rationally (of course), rather than wash it off, I added BROWN lipstick.

And that is how I wound up sitting in the church looking completely ridiculous, clinging to a last desperate hope that my mother would soon arrive so I could escape unseen.